The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the statutory body which operates the Aadhaar project, earned Rs. 254.07 crores in the last 21 months through charges for Aadhaar authentication services, MoneyLife reported on Monday.
UIDAI revealed that it earned ₹239.09 crores from eKYC authentication and ₹14.98 cores from providing yes/no authentication responses between May 2019 and March 2021. The GST on these services contributed ₹45.73 crores to government coffers, the report further stated. This information was revealed in response to a Right To Information request by a law student, Aniket Gaurav.
According to annual reports published by UIDAI, the agency earned ₹2.91 crores in the 2018-2019 financial year and ₹129.73 crores in the 2019-2020 financial year from providing authentication services. The latest figures indicate that UIDAI earned ₹155.14 crores (₹183.06 crores inclusive of GST) for the year 2020-2021.
According to a notification issued on 6 March 2019, UIDAI charges ₹20 per eKYC authentication and ₹0.50 per yes/no authentication from requesting entities, except for government entities and the department of posts, who are exempt from these charges, the report stated. These charges are levied on the customers even for availing ration from public distribution system (PDS) shops because these shops are considered private entities and they are mandated to use Aadhaar authentication, the report added.
In his RTI application, Gaurav also asked for names of entities that have not deposited authentication transaction charges within 15 days of issuance of the concerned invoice and the amount thereof. Gaurav also asked for names of entities that have been denied permissions to carry out authentication services for failing to deposit the requisite payment. For both these queries, the government denied answers saying that “The information sought cannot be disclosed as per provision of section 8 (1) (d) of RTI Act 2005,” the report stated. Section 8(1)(d) in the RTI Act exempts “information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information.”
In addition to authentication services, UIDAI also earns from updates made to the Aadhaar details. While the first time enrollment, demographic and biometric data update is done free of charge, any subsequent update to biometric details carries a fee of ₹100 and any update to only demographic details are charged at ₹50.
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